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Can Letgo slay Classified Ads Overlord Craigslist?

Is the New York and Barcelona-based Let­go app the only con­tender out there with the pow­er to defeat clas­si­fied ads super­star Craigslist? Well, at present they’ve qui­et­ly grown to 2 mil­lion down­loads since the begin­ning of the year and have just announced rais­ing $100 mil­lion in Series A fund­ing from Naspers Lim­it­ed, a media com­pa­ny from South Africa. They’ve also fund­ed a clas­si­fieds plat­form called OLX which just so hap­pens to be a com­pa­ny that was pre­vi­ous­ly cofound­ed by Let­go founder Alec Oxen­ford. He’s still on the chair at OLX, a com­pa­ny that serves 240 mil­lion users in emerg­ing mar­kets in India, Brazil and Poland.

This sol­id expe­ri­ence is what clear­ly moti­vat­ed Naspers to throw down the cash on Let­go. Mar­tin Scheep­bouw­er, CEO of Naspers Clas­si­fieds, in a state­ment about the invest­ment in let­go. “We have seen first­hand Alec’s abil­i­ty to exe­cute on his vision as we worked togeth­er to build OLX into the glob­al force it is today. In let­go, Alec has built a plat­form that is per­fect­ly tai­lored to the Amer­i­can con­sumer, and we’re excit­ed to help his team take it to the next lev­el.” The app, which lets users buy and sell items local­ly is avail­able on both Android and iOS devices.

Oxen­ford says “It’s a fun, easy to use, and high­ly visu­al mobile mar­ket­place that allows users to post, buy, sell and com­mu­ni­cate with each oth­er instant­ly and for free…. per­fect­ly tai­lored for the typ­i­cal Amer­i­can con­sumer,” He thinks he can out­per­form Craigslist and eBay (jobs at eBay), because he’s mobile focused and has tons of pri­or pre­vi­ous expe­ri­ence. Let­go is “stream­lined to make buy­ing and sell­ing local­ly eas­i­er and faster than ever, is a key advan­tage for our plat­form.” He reveals “There has been a lack of inno­va­tion in the U.S. clas­si­fieds space, par­tic­u­lar­ly when it comes to mobile.”

When you look at it for your­self Let­go is very sim­ple to use with its clean and mod­ern design, use of clear imagery, and inte­grat­ed chat. Since its launch in Feb­ru­ary 2015, let­go users have post­ed more than 500,000 list­ings and exchanged near­ly 3 mil­lion mes­sages. The real trans­ac­tion occurs in the real world, but Oxen­ford claims the total val­ue of mer­chan­dise is over $25 mil­lion. Con­sumers are using it for EVERYTHING, fig­urines, tools, even automobiles.

So for right now we have no idea how Let­go is sup­posed to make any mon­ey since they aren’t tak­ing any per­cent­ages of the actu­al sale and no info was pro­vid­ed as to a future strat­e­gy so we’ll just have to see. It appears Oxen­ford and Naspers is just going for acquir­ing as much U.S. mar­ket as pos­si­ble. They are already a top 10 ranked free shop­ping app in Google Play in the U.S., Swe­den, Turkey, New Zealand, Nor­way, Italy and Spain. In a few months they’re going to go all out in the mar­ket­ing depart­ment so keep an eye open, and they plan on hir­ing a few more peo­ple so get those resume refreshed and pol­ished. I guess 39 employ­ees just isn’t enough, hunt them down and start applying.

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